The theme of the 2019-2020 Presidential Initiatives is grounded in four R’s: Recruit, Reaffirm, Recognize and Retain. Since announcing the Initiatives at the Annual Meeting in February, dates have been set for some of the events and others have already taken place. In addition to attending the first of our National events in South Boston, I have already presented greetings to both the Children of the American Revolution in Williamsburg and the Daughters of the American Revolution in Richmond, as well as attending ceremonies in both Culpeper and Oak Grove and the National Spring Leadership Meting in Louisville, Kentucky.
The importance of Recruiting is obvious. New members are the life blood of our organization. Recruiting, however, is more than just attracting and enlisting new members. As an incentive for recruiting new members, the Chapter grant program initiated by then President Mike Elston and continued under Past President Pat Kelly will continue. I am assured that the rebate checks to the eligible chapters will be going out in the next week or so. We need to continue our work with the CAR and DAR to obtain referrals of those who might be eligible for membership. Recruiting however also includes getting members to serve on Committees, Chapter, State and National, to serve as officers at those levels, and to attract and encourage youth to participate in our Youth Programs, including the Eagle Scout Program, The ROTC/JROTC Program, The Orations, Essay, Poster and Brochures Programs. Chapter or Chapters participating in the most of these programs will again be recognized by the Wayne and Wink Rouse Award. To facilitate youth participation, financial incentives are essential. The Mark S, Brennan, Jr. Fund has been in the forefront of allowing us as a State Society to increase those incentives. I therefore have challenged the Society to add at least $15,000 to this Fund and I will personally match the first $2,000 raised. My check has already been sent and I ask you to do the same. Chapters having individuals who contribute at least $1,000 will be recognized with a streamer and donations will be counted toward commissions or promotions in the First Virginia SAR Regiment. Contributions should be made payable to Virginia SAR, with the Brennan Fund indicated on the Memo line, and sent to our Society Treasurer, Rick Elofson, 21 Paula Maria Drive, Newport News, Virginia 23606.
The second R is for Reaffirm. Every time we recite the SAR Pledge, we commit ourselves to reaffirm our commitment to defend the principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic against every foe. As a means of doing so, I challenge you to make every effort to attend the four Nationally recognized events in the Commonwealth. The first of these, the Crossing of the Dan, took place the third week of February. The three remaining are Martin’s Station celebrated on May 11, Yorktown on October 19, and Great Bridge in early December. Chapters having members attending all four events will be recognized with a streamer. A monument will be dedicated later in the year honoring the Culpeper Minutemen. Participation there will also be recognized with a streamer. We also will again be joining with the Society of the War of 1812 in Virginia and will be participating in two ceremonies on June 1, the first a grave marking ceremony at the Cedar Grove Ceremony at 10:00 and the second a plaque dedication at 11:30 at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, Virginia. A program to place markers or monuments honoring patriots and War of 1812 veterans buried or memorialized in each of Virginia’s counties at the Courthouse or other significant location, similar to the recognition given to World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and more recent conflicts has been launched, we expect to dedicate one in Warren County this fall, and further hope to continue this project in years to come. We are also looking ahead, and as part of our Strategic Planning will develop a multi-year plan so that future dedications can include the DAR and veteran’s organizations in such recognition programs.
The third R is to Recognize. Here there is some overlap with the second R, but as envisioned, we need to focus on recognizing and rewarding those who participate in our programs, giving their time energy, and money to advance our cause. Our Youth Program participants, compatriots, spouses, schools, businesses, and friends who properly display the flag, public servants, particularly our first responders, and elected community officials all richly deserve recognition. 2019 also marks the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of indentured Afro-American at Jamestown and the Williamsburg Chapter’s its 50th Anniversary.
The last R is for Retain. The challenge here is to communicate with our members, to continuously solicit their input and provide the types of programs that will make them want to get involved. We ended 2018 with a modest but positive growth. Let’s build on it in 2019; it takes a concerted effort on all of our parts.
On May 18, 2019, approximately 40 people gathered at the Glen-Gery brickyard in Manassas to mark the graves of SAR Patriot Robert Thurman and War of 1812 Patriot Thomas Thurman. The event was planned by the Col. William Grayson VASSAR Chapter. Due to the deterioration of Thomas Thurman’s grave, a new tombstone was installed at his grave. Compatriot Thad Hartman (member of both VASSAR and the War of 1812 in VA) did much of the research and labor in installing the grave markers. VASSAR Chapters presenting wreaths were, in addition to the VASSAR Wreath, Col. William Grayson, George Mason, Col. James Wood II, James Monroe, George Washington, and Fairfax Resolves. VASSAR President Pete Davenport, VASSAR 1st VP Bill Schwetke, and VASSAR 2nd VP Jeff Thomas were in attendance. William Collier, Councilor, and Paul Walden, Secretary, of the Society of the War of 1812 in Virginia presented wreaths for that society. The Elizabeth McIntosh Hamill, Falls Church, Fauquier Court House, and Prince William VADAR chapters presented wreaths, as well as the Col. William Grayson Chapter of CAR.
Curtis Robb of the Col. William Grayson VASSAR Chapter served as master of ceremonies. The combined VASSAR and Society of the War of 1812 color guard presented colors as well as providing a 21 gun musket salute.
SAR Patriot Robert Thurman, paid property taxes in 1783, and his son, PVT Thomas Thurman served in the 89th Regiment of the Virginia Militia in the War of 1812 from July to September 1814. He was deployed to Round Hill Church in King George County in the defense of the Potomac River, and to Mattox Bridge in Westmoreland County.
Photos below: clockwise: Color Guard, MC Curtis Robb, graves of Robert Thurman and Thomas Thurman. Submitted by Paul Walden
The James Monroe Chapter inducted into the SAR our newest members Mr. Woodrow Hynson and Peter Trible at May meeting. Also the Good Citizen Medal was awarded to Clara Lee for her outstanding work preparing and delivering Vets Kits to Veterans entering into McGuires Hospital Richmond Va. Submitted by Charles Belfield
Col. James Wood II VASSAR Compatriot Marc Robinson along with other VASSAR dignitaries attended the SAR National event, "Raid on Martin's Station" on May 11, 2019. (L-R Bill Schwetke, Jeff Thomas, Michael Weyler, Vangy Robinson, Marc Robinson, and John Hamilton.
Martin's Station played a relatively short but significant part in the history of southwestern Virginia and the early settlement of Kentucky. The station takes its name from Joseph Martin, who was selected by the famous Virginia explorer Dr. Thomas Walker to lead an expedition into Powell's Valley Virginia in March of 1769. This location became the last fortified station along the Wilderness Road as the westerly migration of settlers continued to push on. Submitted by William D. Wood
The 19th anniversary of the Raid on Martin's Station and Tribute to Pioneers and Patriots sponsored by the Martin's Station and the Overmountain Men Chapters was held Saturday, May 11 at the Wilderness Road State Park in Ewing, Virginia. The main speaker was Peter Davenport, VASSAR president. Other speakers included Allan Etheridge the Acting Superintendent of the Cumberland Gap Historical Park: Scott Bowen, WRSP Park Manager; Louis Raborg, Jr, the VPG of the SAR Mid Atlantic District; David Carr, President of the Tennessee Society-SAR as well as local chapter officers.
Submitted by: Bob Vogler, Col. Geo. Waller Chapter
Below Photo: VASSAR members in attendance represented the following chapters: Martin's Station, Overmountain Men, Col. Fielding Lewis, Fairfax Resolves, Co. George Waller, Culpeper Minutemen, George Mason, & Col. William Grayson.
A NSSAR Certificate of Recognition and Medal were presented to Cadet Matthew Mckeon at an award ceremony of the Revolutionary Guards Battalion at the College of Willliam and Mary on April 24, 2019. Cadet McKeon was selected for demonstrating the highest ideals of Americanism throughout his undergraduate career. The awards were presented by Tom Morr, Chairman of ROTC awards of the Williamsburg Chapter.
Submitted by: Harley Stewart
28 Apr 2019 Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA
On a beautiful Spring morning at picturesque Hollywood Cemetery 13 Virginia compatriots from 10 chapters, led by 1st Vice President Bill Schwetke, marked President James Monroe's Birthday at his tomb. Wreaths were presented by each chapter and brief remarks made. The master of ceremonies for the wreath laying and keynote speaker was Peter Broadbent of the Richmond Chapter.
Our wreath laying program was preceded by Brigadier General Heidi J. Hoyle, Chief of Ordnance of the United States Army, who presented a wreath on behalf of President Trump and also gave stirring remarks.
27 Apr 2019 Syria, VA
Leamon Duncan fills the urn, held by Tom Hamill, with Virginia Soil. The Color Guard, left to right: Commander Paul Chase, Jim O'Kelley, Bill Schwetke, Charles Jameson, Craig Truskey, and Michael Dennis. The Flags carried by the Color Guard incuded the 3rd Detachment Flag under which the Virginians fought at Waxhaws
In a brief ceremony before the Seven Chapter Meeting at Graves Mountain Lodge today, Virginia soil was gathered in an urn, blessed by Father Henry Minich, and entrusted to Virginia SAR President Peter Davenport, who will transport it to a ceremony at the Waxhaws Battlefield in four weeks. There President Davenport will spread the Blessed Virginia Soil on the mass grave of Virginia soldiers killed there on May 29, 1780.
A Certificate of Recognition and Medal of the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution were presented to Cadet Mason Burkhead at an awards ceremony of the Panther Battalion, JROTC at Charles City High School on April 26, 2019. The school and its leaders are clearly committed to developing future leaders for military service and for our communities. The awards were presented to Cadet Mason Burkhead (center) by Williamsburg Chapter President William Greaf (left) and ROTC Awards Chairman Tom Morr (right). Submitted by: Harley Stewart
26 Apr 2019 Martinsburg, WV
This evening 1st Vice President Bill Schwetke gave a talk on the Origins of the SAR, DAR, and C.A.R. at the General Adam Stephen Chapter in Martinsburg, WV. This visit to West Virginia is part of a significant effort by the Colonel James Wood II Chapter to reach out to work with neighboring chapters, even across state lines. President Dale Corey, VP Marc Robinson, and Chaplain Raleigh Watson of the Colonel James Wood II Chapter all attended the meeting. Bill is also a dual member of the Colonel James Wood II Chapter. Bill's wife, Cat, accompanied him and took these pictures.